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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

For Immediate Release
December 22, 2004

Tony Iallonardo, NET, 202-887-8855 (ph)

Statement of Robert Vandermark
Co-Director, Heritage Forests Campaign

On Administration's New Forest Management Regulations

Washington, DC (December 22, 2004) -- The Bush Administration's revised National Forest Management Act (NFMA) regulations issued today stacks the decks in favor of the timber industry who want easier access to old growth trees in our national forests. Combined with Administration's proposal to gut protections for pristine roadless areas, it is clear the President is intent on silencing the voices of scientists, conservationists and the public.

The announcement today continues the Administration's cynical approach toward National Forests. Last year, on Christmas Eve, they opened Alaska's Tongass National Forest to logging, and this year their holiday target is even larger, encompassing virtually every National Forest acre in every state.

The Bush Administration would leave scientific review of logging projects to the discretion of local forest managers, making conservation optional rather than required. These changes take us back to the bad old days of unrestricted logging and mining on public lands. Further, these regulations will devastate irreplaceable habitat that provide recreational opportunities for millions of hikers, campers, fishermen and conservationists.

It's no secret President Bush is catering to the timber industry's agenda when it comes to management of our national forests. Rather than continue to undermine national forest protections, the Administration should listen to the American public's calls for real forest protection.


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